Latest Updates on Business and Itasca County Regarding COVID-19
IEDC is here to serve the businesses and individuals in this community by providing clear, concise information to help them thrive or sustain. In the current climate, information is coming from all sides, and while it is well intended, often can leave one confused about what is available to them.
Our commitment at IEDC is to always provide the most up to date, accurate information available.
Stay Home MN transforms into Stay Safe MN
"Beginning on Friday, March 27, 2020 at 11:59 pm through Friday, April 10, 2020 at 5:00 pm, all persons currently living within the State of Minnesota are ordered to stay at home or in their place of residence except to engage in the Essential Activities and Critical Sector Work. For purposes of this Executive Order, homes or residences include hotels, motels, shared rental units, shelters, and similar facilities, to the extent they are used for lodging. This Executive Order does not restrict virtual work or telework (i.e. work from home), and Minnesotans working in any field are encouraged to work from their home or residence as much as possible."
Since then, Governor Walz extended his Stay at Home Order unitl Monday, May 18th, 2020. He his hoping to continue flattening the curve in our fight against COVID-19. On Monday, May 18th, we will have moved into a new phase of our fight against the pandemic; Stay Safe Minnesota. This is outlined in Executive Order 20-56.
For acces to Executive Order 20-56, or a link to our breakdown of Executive Order 20-56, please click the buttons below.
Returning Safely to Work
A word from the State of Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development:
Governor Tim Walz has put into place a framework for Executive Order 20-40. This order gives all Minnesotans a limited first step in safely returning to work beginning with workers of non-Critical Sector industrial, manufacturing and office-based business that are non-customer facing.
In order to reopen, EO 20-56 requires these businesses to:
- Create and share with their employees a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan that explains the actions they are taking to ensure social distancing and keep workers safe. The Department of Labor and Industry has created a template plan, which is optional for businesses to use as a starting point.
- Engage in health screening of employees each day upon arrival.
- Continue to use telework whenever possible
For more information about EO 20-56, including what it means for businesses and workers and a number of FAQs and additional information, please click here. The state will continue to update that site with content and information you need to know.
Take the Test & Share the Link
HELP MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN RURAL BROADBAND IN ITASCA COUNTY…TAKE THE TEST!
RAMS – (Range Association of Municipalities & Schools) in partnership with Itasca County, is pleased to announce the kickoff of a historic event for rural broadband expansion. GEO Partners, LLC will be conducting a county wide crowdsourcing broadband speed test over the next several months. At a time when students are required to learn from home via internet connections, when parents are being asked to stay home and in many cases work from home requiring broadband connectivity, there is no better time to conduct this county wide speed test. This initiative will provide statistically validated data that can be used for FCC, USDA or MN State Border to Border grants and will give rural Itasca County a leg up on other regions of the state that rely on inadequate FCC mapping and speed data for grant applications.
In an effort to determine the level of our rural broadband connectivity in Itasca County, we ask that you take 30 seconds to run this simple speed test. Click on the link: https://expressoptimizer.net/public/
Let the test run and you are finished. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated and this will hopefully lead to better broadband in the near future. Thank you for your time and cooperation. If you are in a location with no broadband service, fill in the address and the map will reflect no service. This is very important information for future broadband projects! Ideally you should run the test 3 times, morning, afternoon, evening. Thanks so much for your cooperation.
Business Impact Assessment - Tourism
IEDC is working closely with our partners throughout Itasca County to bring a voice of solidarity around the issues facing the tourism industry. We know that the days, weeks and even months ahead are filled with uncertainty and fear of the unknown. Many of you are creating plans to try to weather the pandemic, and we would like to understand the impact it is having on your business.
Please take a moment to fill out our Tourism Impact Survey and help our leaders understand the burdens that you bear. Your confidentiality is important to us, so your information will be consolidated with others and included in a report that will be sent to our local, state and federal leaders.
We have put together a unique webpage for funding resources that are available for businesses in Itasca County who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On this page, you will find the following types of loans:
- Itasca Small Business Relief Loan
- SBA Resources
- State of Minnesota Small Business Emergency Loan
- Entrepreneur Fund
Minnesota's Economy and COVID-19
The University of Minnesota Extension came out with a study about Minnesota's Economy through the Cornavirus Pandemic. The study is intruduced with, "This summary is meant to highlight the parts of Minnesota's economy currently most at risk. The hope is this information will give some guidance to those responding to Minnesota's present economic issues and how local economies will be affected. As the situation changes rapidly, however, further updates may be necessary."
Please take the time to look at the impact the COVID-19 crisis has had on our community by accessing the full article here.
The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act was signed by President Trump to help provide financial stability and relief for individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19. This bill is very broad and we will try and have as much information on this topic as possible as we continue to navigate through these difficult times.
We have included a Small Business Guide and Small Business Checklist for the CARES Act. Both are great tools for a small business owner to use when looking for more information regarding loans and more!
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
On March 18, 2020, President Donald Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) into law. Impacted employers must be in compliance with this law by April 2, 2020. To help explain the provisions and requirements of this law and related topics, Authored by Christopher Beinecke and Dawn Kramer from the Marsh & McLennan Agency. This document summarizes recent actions taken by both the federal and state governments affecting employer-provided health benefits and provides a user friendly guide on what is required to be in compliance with the FFCRA.
Remaining calm is easier said than done given the relentless stream of news about the spread of novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) across the globe. This article summarizes recent actions taken by both the federal and state governments affecting employer-provided health benefits as well as certain other related issues.
To access the full article, click here.
Business Resource Updates
Using Social Media to Sell Inventory
There are so many creative ways to use Social Media as an outlet for curbside pickup sales! It can be as simple as taking pictures of new items and posting them to let your followers know that they are available at any time. All it takes is a quick comment, message or phone call. We want to help you succeed in all areas of business. If you need any help with social media sales, please let us know! Our Marketing Specialist, Kayla Swanson, is available via email or phone. Please contact her with any questions at email@example.com. She will set up a phone-call with you to help walk you through your next steps! In the video to the right, Kayla walks you through a way to use Facebook Live for Retail Sales and Curbside Pickup.
For access to the step-by-step Facebook Live Guide, click here.
Despite the ever-changing times, there are employers that are still searching for employees to fill critical positions in our economy. We want to make sure that you know where there are resources out there to find a job when the job needs you most. Below are links to help you in your job search.
Supporting our Industry Updates
Thanks to our friends at CEDA for their help, we will be able to provide you with information such as public building hours, meetings, utility payments, food shelves, contact information, school-aged meal options and more. So far, this information has been provided by the towns of:
- Grand Rapids
- Deer River
- Harris Township
- Hill City
- Itasca County
- Meal and Food Shelf Information
- Bank Closure Information
- Community Graduation Information
We hope to continue to provide updates for additonal areas as that information becomes available.
Internet providers accross our nation have pledged to "Keep Americans Connected." Please refer to the links below regarding internet access for all students that are no longer in school and the workforce who is forced to work remotely.
- Mediacom Extends Initiatives
- Paul Bunyan
- Cell and Internet Providers for Our Area
- Access to Chromebooks for 75% off
We understand that there are more internet providers than what we have listed. We will continue to try and update this information as it becomes available to us.
We know the uncertainty that comes with running a licensed childcare program during scary times like these. However, we want you to know that there are resources available for you. Northland Foundation has set up an Emergency Child Care Grant Program.
This program, "offers immediate financial support to licensed family- and center-based child care providers caring for children whose parents/guardians are designated as emergency personnel and other essential workers."
There are three links regarding childcare are constantly changing and we want to be sure that you have access to them at all times.
- Child Care Providers, please click here.
- Families in Need of Child Care, please click here.
- Major Childcare Helpsheet, please click Here.
For more information regarding childcare, follow the links below:
Resources for Manufacturing
Arrowhead Manufacturers & Fabricators Association have put together a page on their dedicated to resources that they are offering for COVID-19 Resources. General information, webinar links, essential business designation and other links are all included in their page.
To access this entire page, please click here.
AMFA has been putting together webinars. They are listed on their page, but for your convenience, we wanted to include them here.
- Webinar #1; Navigating Immediate Labor Concerns
- Webinar #2; What You Need to Know About Orders and Payments
- Webinar # 3; Supply Chain Solutions
- Webinar #4; Proper Prevention in a Manufacturing Environment
- Webinar #5; Printing Solutions for Operational Needs
- Webinar #6; Boosting Team Morale
- Webinar #7; Workforce Training Grants
- Webinar #8; Turning Challenges into Grants
- Webinar #9; ROI of CX
Resources for the Arts
Itasca County is proud of our rich and vibrant arts community. We know that times are hard for everyone right now, including our artists. A list of available resources for artists has been provided to us by the Grand Marais Arts Colony. Please follow the links for more information.